By RJ Bardsley
If you’ve upgraded to a new smartphone any time in the last 12 months, odds are that one of the selling points for your device was the 4G network behind it. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, here is how Wikipedia defines 4G:
“4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone mobile communications standards. It is a successor of the third generation (3G) standards. A 4G system provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access, for example to laptops with USB wireless modems, to smartphones, and to other mobile devices. Conceivable applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing and 3D television.”
All of the major carriers – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mo are building out these super-networks and the consumer promise behind them is real. While you may be more focused on your phone’s 8 megapixel camera or its incredible Retina display, it’s actually the network behind that phone that will make all the difference to most of the features and functionality of that phone.
What, exactly is the 4G promise and why should you, Joe Consumer, care? Simply put, 4G networks provide faster bandwidth, which translates into more access to the things we need and want to do on our devices. We are actually getting to a point where wireless connectivity is on par with wired connectivity, and this means more than you might think. Yes, more bandwidth means better gaming, faster movie downloads, more multi-tasking – all things that improve our personal mobile experience. But 4G also means a lot for business.
4G redefines business – yes, we are all familiar with the idea that we can stay in touch while we’re out of the office. But 4G data gives us the ability to really work anywhere we want – sending large files, graphics, video, PowerPoints – all of this becomes easy. In addition it means we can set up shop anywhere. In the developed world this means mobile businesses can pop up anywhere. From food trucks to skate shops to surf huts – 4G means these entrepreneurs can set up shop and stay connected anywhere. In developing nations, 4G promises to bring near-enterprise level connectivity to businesses that may not be in areas with wired connectivity. This is incredibly important because it truly opens up new markets for businesses in developing areas – this is a major link to the rest of the world (and potentially out of poverty).
So – what will you do differently in the 4G world?